Good Evening Friends,
I hope your week has started off well. Things are going all right at the Daniels house. Re-entry after being away for a couple weeks and out of routine is proving a little more difficult than we anticipated. We did have a fantastic time with family back in Ohio and were really grateful to be able to spend the holidays with them but it’s really nice to be home again. We’re hoping we’ve convinced more of our family members to come out to Camas and meet our family here as well! And the retreat out at Twin Rocks was really wonderful. We had marvelous weather and a great turnout of people for the weekend. We played and laughed together, we ate (lots!), we sang carols, worshiped together and we rested. We missed those of you who were unable to join us and felt blessed to be able to spend the weekend as a community.
This past Sunday (during the retreat), for the second week of advent, we looked at Matthew 3:1-11 and focused on our theme "Seeing Beyond What We See." Some queries we considered for that passage were: what do you think John sees? What do the people coming out to be baptized see? What do the Pharisees see? What does God see? And what do we see in this text? It’s amazing the various insights that came from considering each perspective.
This week John the Baptizer is still on the scene, but now, in good ol’ prophetic fashion, he is in prison for his protests against King Herod. The Jesus revolution is clearly beginning and John wants to be sure he is a part of what God is doing.
Here is the text from the Gospel according to Matthew chapter 11:
“When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”
As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written,
‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’
Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. (Matt 11:2–11 NRSV)
- What strikes you about this text? Are there any words or phrases that catch your attention?
- Why do you think John asks his question? What do you think is behind his query?
- What insights do you get from looking at this text through the eyes of the different people involved in the passage?
I look forward to being with you all this coming Sunday for our meeting for worship.
Peace on Earth,